Skip to comments.Green Bay Packers Football vs. Christmas (WI)
Posted on 12/21/2005 1:21:27 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin
(Demand for tickets down for Bears game Sunday...)
With the Green Bay Packers coming off a woeful loss to Baltimore and about to play their first-ever Christmas Day game at Lambeau Field, some fans and brokers report declining demand for tickets - even though Sunday's opponent is the archrival Chicago Bears.
Longtime season ticket-holder William Swetlik of Green Bay has two tickets for sale - at face value - for a Bears game he hates to miss.
"Christmas Day is for Christ, not for football, and for my family," he said. "I want to be home with the kids. We have grandchildren coming from out of town. I want to visit with them for the day. That is the most important thing."
"I can't imagine why they scheduled it that way," he said. "As far as I am concerned, I wouldn't go to any football game on Christmas Day."
The Packers (3-11) take on Chicago (10-4) at 4 p.m. Sunday in one of two NFL games being played on Christmas Day. The other features Minnesota at Baltimore, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
It's the first time in Packers history that the team has played on Christmas Day, said Mark Wagner, director of ticket operations.
Still, he expects a full house, more than 70,000 fans, to attend the game.
"We are preparing for a normal Sunday game," Wagner said. "It would surprise me greatly if we did have a lot of no-shows, unless there was a snowstorm or something."
There were more complaints last year when the Packers played in Minnesota on Christmas Eve, Wagner said.
But there is evidence of reduced interest in Sunday's game, he said.
The Bears returned 75 tickets out of their allotment of 500, Wagner said. "We have been getting rid of the ones that we have gotten in here so that's a good sign. We have been selling them."
Josh Anderson, manager of Ticket King, a Green Bay ticket broker, said sales for Sunday's game were slow Tuesday and he wasn't surprised, especially with the disappointment of the Packers' 48-3 loss to Baltimore on Monday.
For many people, Christmas Day is for families, and that hurts demand for tickets, especially with the Packers hardly playing like an elite NFL team, he said.
"We definitely are getting a lot of people trying to sell tickets," Anderson said.
Last year, the Packers played the Bears at Lambeau in September. "It was the biggest game we had all year," said Anderson, who will spend Christmas Day on Sunday sharing dinner with his fiancee rather than attending the game.
Frank Hickey, owner of Fox River Tickets of De Pere, said the fact the Bears-Packers game is on Christmas Day hurts sales "big time."
"I think the NFL should be ashamed of itself," he said. "I am buying tickets below face value and selling at about face value or above, depending on the quality of the tickets."
Hickey said he has bought $67 tickets for $40, and sales are off 50 percent compared with a normal rivalry game like the Bears.
He said some men calling about tickets ask about prices then say they will check with their wives but never call back.
"I knew it would be like this last April when the schedule came out," he said. "I don't know how you can put a game on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. There should be Christmas music on."
Calvary Lutheran Church is about a half-mile north of Lambeau Field. The pastor, the Rev. Gail Sowell, said the late afternoon game should cause no problems for her church. Her last Christmas Day service is at 10:30 a.m.
"I am not in favor of having football games on Christmas Day but at least logistically for us, it is not as bad as Christmas Eve," she said. "It is just the idea of playing football on the day of Jesus' birth. I think a lot of people are just offended by the principle of it."
"I was offered tickets and turned them down," Sowell said.
Swetlik, 55 and a season ticketholder since 1979, has two tickets in row eight of section 14 for sale for $59 each.
He expects to sell them. "But who knows. It is going to be Christmas Day," he said.
According to Anderson, there's one factor for Sunday's game that could spurred have more demand for the tickets and counter some of the emotion of Christmas Day football.
If quarterback Brett Favre had announced earlier that he was retiring, ticket prices would "go through the roof, sales would go through the roof; exactly what you would expect," the ticket broker said.
I love the Packers. They've been the only team I've ever rooted for.
However this year, I have to commit the unthinkable.
I'm rooting for the Bears to beat Green Bay.
Why? I despise the Vikings and their fair-weather fans. I wanna see the Vikings knocked out of the play-offs.
"Excuse me, that's Lambert Field" - Sen Kerry, Candidate for President
Now they have some whine with their cheese.
If the packers were 11 and 3 and fighting the bears for 1st place, there would be no whining. This would be the biggest game of the year.
I don't think Packers fans would want to see the mauling they're going to get this Sunday anyway. The Bears defense is going to be hungry to shut down the next two opponents to go down as the best scoring defense in NFL history.
See the Bears bury the Packers would be a great Christmas present for me!
Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field? Feh!
What a bunch of fair weather fans. I don't want to hear about how great their fan base is anymore.
Sure he says that now...but if the Pack had a legitimate team he'd be there.
While I am always in favor of putting in a hint to location of a post, but how many Green Bays in the country have a team named the Packers?
IF by mauling, you mean a 6-3 game - then yes, yes it will be a mauling.
The Vikings are going to get eaten by the Ravens on Sunday. They looked great in every aspect of the game against the Packers.
Merry Christmas. Ya kain't spiel krap wid'oubt da AP
I'm not a football fan, not a TV fan, not a crowd fan, not a people fan and not a fan of demotic liberals
What else is there to do in Green Bay anyway? Saturday you go hunting and Sunday you watch the Packers. Come Monday it's back to the Toilet Paper factory.
"Sure he says that now...but if the Pack had a legitimate team he'd be there."
You got it. I know this writer and he went looking for a quote like that to build his story around.
I've been to games at Lambeau Field. It's like being in Church, LOL! I don't see being a Packer Fan and being a Christian to be mutually exclusive things! :)
We have a winner!
I think with Grossman back the Bears offense will be considerably better.
"Come Monday it's back to the Toilet Paper factory."
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